Saturday, December 12, 2015
Shapiro's argument doesn't make much sense. There are major obstacles to Trump's winning the nomination, which Shapiro doesn't even mention. His negative numbers among Republicans are unusually high, and his negatives are even worse outside of the party. When it's still 2015, there's still a double-digit number of candidates running, and most of the negative ads against Trump haven't even started airing yet, his consistently getting in the twenties or thirties in polls doesn't amount to much.
The phrase "the establishment" is vague and defined and redefined in so many ways. If everybody would stop using the term, I think we'd be better off for it. The phrase didn't have much value to begin with, and it's now been overused to an absurd degree.
Is Karl Rove part of the establishment? He recently told Michael Medved that he includes Cruz among the candidates he considers to have the stature of a president. He didn't include Trump. What about the National Review writers who have been most vocal in opposing Trump? I've repeatedly seen them make positive comments about Cruz and comment on how he's an acceptable choice and better than Trump. Shapiro's claim that Cruz is the candidate the establishment is most opposed to strikes me as ridiculous. They'd prefer Cruz to Trump.
And given how conservative Rubio is, I'd say that the widespread support for him among people often labeled as part of the establishment goes a long way in demonstrating that the establishment isn't opposed to conservatism. Their problem with candidates like Trump and Carson (and Cruz to a lesser extent) isn't that they're conservative. (As if Trump is too conservative for them.) Rather, they're concerned about electability. And they should be. Shame on the people who either aren't concerned about it or are far less concerned than they ought to be.
There are some problems with many of the people who are often labeled as part of the establishment. But the problems are often exaggerated, and a lot of their critics have some problems of their own.
Shapiro's comments about talk radio are misleading. He writes:
"Members of Republican media are now attacking others in Republican media who don’t see Trump as the gravest threat to the Republican Party or the republic; they bash Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin for focusing in on the left and the media, rather than on stopping Trump."
The problem critics see with people like Limbaugh and Levin isn't that they "don’t see Trump as the gravest threat to the Republican Party or the republic" and "focus in on the left and the media". Rather, the problem is along the lines of what Guy Benson describes in his article I recently linked on Triablogue.
Then there's Shapiro's failure to criticize the people most responsible for choosing our candidates and the people most responsible for making poor choices in the past: the voters. Who chose McCain and Romney? Voters made the choice more than anybody else. And they rejected candidates like Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Perry in the process. I can see rejecting some of them. But choosing Romney over Pawlenty was a mistake. That wasn't the establishment's mistake. It was the mistake of the voters, and talk radio and other critics of the establishment were at the forefront of making that mistake happen. They were focused on Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and other weaker candidates while they gave Pawlenty almost no support. They rejected Rick Perry for far less significant problems than the ones many of them are willing to overlook in Trump.
For a party that puts so much emphasis on personal responsibility, Republicans spend a remarkable amount of time blaming a vague establishment and not much time holding the voters responsible for their mistakes.
Friday, December 11, 2015
I want to add a qualifier to Guy Benson's analysis, though. Limbaugh often hedges his bets, and he often does it in a dubious way. His approach toward Trump is an example of that. Limbaugh does sometimes acknowledge that Trump isn't a conservative, that some of Trump's opponents have better reasons for opposing him than the Trump critics Limbaugh usually focuses on, etc. So, Limbaugh could highlight his comments like the ones I just described in response to somebody like Benson. But Benson is right about how Limbaugh usually covers Trump. He has the general thrust right, even though Limbaugh can cite some occasional bet hedging to defend himself against that sort of criticism. He'll occasionally provide a more reasonable assessment of Trump, but he spends the large majority of his time doing what Benson rightly criticizes.
Steve Hays of Triablogue has decided to go full tilt attack mode.
Of course, that is NOT my focus, and no one reading my comments or listening to my presentations could ever think it is. It is easy to shift the focus and then accuse me of “dodging” but it is likewise fallacious to its core.
Do forgive, me, Steve, for not limiting myself to your particular interests.
But Rich and I are both dealing with all sorts of people making that exact argument.
Your Hays-centrism leads you to attack me for not just focusing on—you.
Sorry, Steve, but I do not consider you a relevant player in the field of apologetics to Muslims.
Till then, you would do well not to read into my comments a focus upon you.
What I actually, said, of course…
I am sorry, but this is just an astounding example of ignorance of Hays’ part. He may well be in dialogue with all sorts of Muslims, reading authors from a wide spectrum—but if he is, he hasn’t given a scintilla of evidence of it here. How on earth is that first sentence even coherent? Islam isn’t monolithic—there is an obvious spectrum of belief and practice that can be traced by careful scholars (with open minds anyway) all the way back to the earliest centuries…He then, mockingly, it seems, notes something that I did not believe any Christian apologist questioned: that the Qur’an is not a consistent, homogenous work of theology. Does Steve Hays want to drop his sarcasm and try to defend the idea that the Qur’an is not variegated in its materials? Maybe he’d like to take a shot at demonstrating the hadith, as a corpus, are consistent? How much of the entire body of the hadith have you even read, Steve? Might want to do your homework before playing Apologetic Sniper.
So, just what “back to back contradiction” am I “oblivious” to? We can’t say, since Hays sort of forgot to explain it, let alone prove it.
Again, someone who has actually listened to what I have said would be scratching their head wondering what Hays is up to. How is this relevant to what I said on the DL today?
I was pointing out that those doing the “all Muslims are the same” argument (which, by the way, was the EXACT argument of the big weight lifter guy in the video I referenced—who, evidently, Steve seems intent upon defending)
Is Hays ready to defend the thesis that all interpretations of Sharia are identical all across the Islamic world? It is an indisputable fact that there are differing interpretations of Sharia.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
After briefly reviewing the innumerable archaeological finds regarding education levels in the ancient world and citing valuable recent research, Schnelle cites p. 94 of R. Baumgarten’s article “Elementar- und Grammatikunterricht: Griechenland,” pp. 89-100 in Handbuch der Bildung und Erziehung in der Antike (ed. Christes, Klein, Lüth; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2006), which apparently states that in ancient cities probably most of the children went to elementary school, and when the very different grades of reading and writing abilities are included in the estimate, it may be assumed that around 30-50 percent of the population of middle and larger sized cities had an elementary knowledge of reading and writing. Then Schnelle lists his seven reasons in favor of relatively higher literacy in the early churches (anyways more than 50%) in comparison to the general population.
1. In the beginning period it is a matter mainly of urban churches, and the extent of literacy in the cities was notably higher than in the countryside.
2. A considerable part of the church members came from the sphere of influence of Judaism, which exhibited a higher literacy rate than the average in the Roman empire. Also the household slaves (cf. Phlm) who are linked to early churches must have been equipped with a higher-than-average grade of education.
3. A lively literary and intellectual life prevailed in the early churches. The Septuagint was studied, i.e. read aloud, read, and discussed. Paul made use of a secretary (cf. Rom 16:22), the Pauline Epistles were not merely read aloud (cf. 1 Thess 5:27), but the Apostle also took for granted that people took up his epistles with their own eyes to understand, thus that they read (cf. Gal 6:11: “See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand”; further 1 Cor 16:21; Phlm 19).
4. The texts show that in the churches - as usual in the ancient world - reading loudly or reading aloud was predominant, which gave a special status to the oral tradition, so that also church members with lower writing and reading abilities could actively participate in church life. Furthermore, education was (and is) not identical with reading and writing competence, since one who could not (or could only in a limited way) read and write was not automatically uneducated.
5. Moreover, education was not tied to affiliation with social classes in the 1st century C.E.
6. From the beginning teachers were active in the churches (1 Cor 12:28; Gal 6:6; Rom 12:7b; Acts 13:1). Their duties were concentrated on the interpretation of the (oral or written) kerygma as well as the exegesis of written texts.
7. Above all, the multilingualism (Greek/Latin/Hebrew/Aramaic/local languages) of many church members, the creation of new literary genres (Gospels), and the superior themes handled in the Epistles (foremost in the Pauline Epistles) clearly demonstrate that a great linguistic and intellectual creativity prevailed in the new movement.
Schnelle closes this section by stating, “These central aspects shall now be pursued.” And pursue he does!
Accidental truths of history can never become the proof for necessary truths of reason.
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
I'm not posting this to recommend Cruz for prez, per se, as much as to highlight an intelligent conversation between two public intellectuals over Constitutional, civil liberties, bioethics, same-sex marriage, and other issues most pertinent to Americans:
What we need to do is to increase our intelligence capabilities and activity both around the world and in the homeland. We need to back up our law enforcement officers, who are out there fighting this fight every day, give them the tools they need. We need to cooperate with peaceful Muslim-Americans, who want to give us intelligence against those who are radicalized. We did this after 9/11. And it was a very impressive approach. I can tell you in New Jersey that we frequently had sources inside mosques in New Jersey that were giving us information that helped us to bring cases and intervene on things that we otherwise wouldn't' have known about.
The candidate who is smart enough to recognize that this election is unlike any other in our history and runs as an independent has a good chance to win.
The candidate who realizes that the Republican party—after stabbing their voters in the back in the last two consecutive historical elections—is dead to many Republicans and bolts for an Independent party will likely win.
The candidate who realizes that the Obama-Democratic party is dead to many democrats but will vote independent will likely win.
Let's see if Cruz or Trump is smart enough to ditch the "we will never support a conservative" establishment RINO party and run as an Independent.
Here is a chance where record numbers of blacks, Hispanics, and other democrats would vote conservative if he were an Independent.
Kill two birds with one stone: A conservative president and the destruction of the RINO party!
He's also proposed a new rendering of Luke 2:2 that hasn't gotten much attention yet, but has been endorsed or taken seriously by some scholars who have commented on it. See here. And see here for a discussion of Carlson's response to Richard Carrier on the subject several years ago. I don't know enough about Greek to render much of a judgment of Carlson's proposed translation, but it seems more promising than other translations that are often suggested.
More than a decade ago, Carlson published an article on a passage in Clement of Alexandria that has some relevance to the infancy narratives. See my discussion of the subject here.
Carlson has also published an article on Matthew 1:17 and how Matthew arrived at his count of three groups of fourteen generations.
Monday, December 07, 2015
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Gen 4:6-7, NASB).
In this understanding the expression reverses the earlier imagery of Cain's "downcast" face. When Cain practices what is right, there will be an uplifted face… K. Mathews, Genesis, 1:269-70.
"It will be lifted up"–this probably refers to Cain's face, which has fallen. In other words, his countenance will no longer be one of despondency and dejection. However, if Cain continues to do wrong, then sin will hound him–sin is lurking, waiting to pounce. J. Currid, Genesis, 1:145.
A second question that I have concerns Zechariah’s prophecy. Zechariah seems to talk about Messianic expectations that many Jews of his day had: Israel would be saved from her enemies and serve God without fear (Luke 1:71-74). Zechariah was excited because he thought that his son John had something to do with that. But that did not happen. Rather, Israel’s Roman oppressors destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E.
But in that case, something has to give. The date or the interpretation of the oracle.
serotiny (adj. serotinous) In certain plants, especially trees (e.g. jack pine (Pinus banksiana), lodgepole pine (P. contorta), and many species of Eucalyptus), the retention of seeds in pods or cones on the tree, often for many years, until a disaster, most commonly the heat of a fire, causes their release. After fire, the seeds fall on ground fertilized by ash in a site cleared of competitors.